Monday, April 10, 2006

Particle Man

Game 6 - Red Sox

Red Sox 4, Orioles 1
W: Wakefield (1-1)
L: Lopez (1-1)
Sv: Papelbon (3)
Record: 5-1

For the record, let it be known that the Baseball Gods have a wickedly clever (though good-natured) sense of humor. Further, let it once again be proven that I'm an idiot.

On Saturday night, I praised the Sox for solid defense, singling out Alex Gonzalez for his glovework and Mark Loretta for his grittiness. Less than 24 hours later, Loretta let the very first ball of yesterday's game go through his legs for a bush-league error. In the 2nd inning, after Loretta's gaffe cost the Sox a run, Gonzalez failed to execute a basic doubleplay turn, putting Tim Wakefield in one of the numerous jams he pitched through yesterday.

At this point, I'm looking forward to a 14-2 Orioles laugher, and planning to throw myself on the mercy of the court for my hubristic (even if jesting) comments in this space.

Then, Loretta failed to run out a groundball that Melvin Mora kicked, giving the Oriole 3rd-sacker way too much time to make a play, and costing the Sox a baserunner. If Manny had done the same thing, they'd be readying his gallows in Dan Shaugnessy's office. Without even checking, I'm gonna assume that there's nothing in this morning's Globe about it. Even though the Sox were still in the game, I was awaiting cosmic retribution of a biblical nature.

Last week, I cast aspersions about Josh Bard's ability to catch Tim Wakefield, and expressed concerns about Wake's effectiveness. Today, Bard was solid, and Wake went 6 innings without allowing an earned run.

Finally, I chose Saturday night to laud young Jonathan Papelbon's dominant start, noting that the new Sox closer had not allowed a baserunner in his first 3 outings. As Luis Matos doubled to lead off the bottom of the 9th, and Papelbon hit Miguel Tejada after inducing Mora to fly to center, I was certain that Jay Gibbons would tie the game as payback. Then, when Gibbons popped harmlessly to Bard (natch - the Sox' catcher made a terrific sliding play to record the out), I was equally certain that Kevin Millar (he of the embedded Red Sox description) would turn around Papelbon's heat in a spasm of poetic justice.

And after Millar popped to J.T. Snow to end the game, I realized that the Gods were toying with me, giving me just enough angst to remind me that I don't know what I'm talking about while serving notice that this Sox team is pretty damn solid. Point taken.

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